The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Arts Education in City Schools Saved by Solar Power

by the National Performing Arts Convention.

The restoration of arts education funding in San Diego Unified School District is the result of focused relationship building and a positive, solution oriented approach to advocacy. Bravo!

Arts Education in City Schools Saved by Solar Power

San Diego, CA, June 21, 2011: In a unanimous vote, the San Diego Board of Education restored full funding to its arts education programs for the upcoming 2011/12 year. Ironically, SDUSD’s solar program provides the majority of the funding needed. Using cost savings from the District’s recently expanded photovoltaic project, added to other financial sources, the Board of Education was able to restore $1.3 million to the VAPA Department and $200,000 to the music programs in two magnet schools.

The Board’s decision is a major victory for arts education advocates in San Diego. This complete restoration of the VAPA Department may be the only victory of its kind among the more than 1,000 California schools districts during this embattled budget year. Widespread support from teachers, principals, students, arts organizations, music supporters, and community activists effectively pushed Board members to find the resources needed.

Board member Scott Barnett also deserves credit for this victory, identifying a way to pay for the restoration with offsetting cuts and new revenues, so that the fiscal impact of the decision did not increase the District’s deficit. Barnett is proof that arts education is a non-partisan issue. A Republican and the former President of the San Diego County Taxpayers’ Association, he believes that arts education is a valuable use of taxpayer funds. Barnett was joined by the four other Board members, all Democrats, in supporting of his fiscal solution. San Diego Alliance for the Arts Education Chair, Victoria Plettner-Saunders comments: “This budget victory reflects a three-year partnership of the Board, senior staff in the District, and the San Diego Alliance for Arts Education. In today’s budget climate, it is not enough to tout the value of arts education; it is necessary to support the Board, roll up your sleeves and be a part of the solution.”

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San Diego Alliance for Arts Education
4885 Kensington Drive
San Diego, CA 92116
Phone (619) 540-2925
Contact: Victoria Plettner-Saunders
Phone: (619) 540-2925

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